By Bryan Caplan
1. I think First World happiness is basically maxed out. In rich countries, your happiness depends on your personality, not your situation. And personality is really hard to change. Tyler says he’s a “revenue pessimist but a happiness optimist.” I expect people to keep complaining no matter how many marvels and wonders the economy delivers.
2. I don’t think the Flynn effect represents a meaningful increase in intelligence. To the best of my knowledge, there is zero evidence that the Flynn gains have
“external validity”; i.e., that as a result of higher scores, people
today are better at learning real-world tasks. When you look at subtests, people have improved in some highly g-loaded tasks, especially Ravens matrices. But they’re no better at other highly g-loaded tasks, especially vocabulary. The areas of improvement seem almost random. The best explanation, in my view, is that we aren’t really smarter than people a century ago.